Old Tom Morris

The news that Police Scotland are to divert some 5k officers and around £5m in public money to enhance the northern portion of the visit of the 45th President of the United States is reverberating around Scotland-shire at the minute.
It’s almost as though the presidential threat to ‘take tee with the Queen’ at Balmoral’s private golf course has led the, possibly hubristic, golf-magnate to imagine that the land of his mother will welcome what some unkind folk describe as a bullying entrepreneur to the northern outposts of the Roman empire.

The Donald, of course, has choices. He can hide behind the Antonine Wall and play at Turnberry. Or, in a fit of pants, he can head north to the coastal links at Balmeddie. Either way, Scotland’s pseudo-Mexicans plan to give him a Mexican wave or two.
Mind you, it’s not all cringeworthy.

Golf of course is a great leveller. 
The golf course at Cruden Bay is situated twenty-three miles north of Aberdeen, ten miles South of Peterhead and around two hours’ drive from St Andrews - the so-called Home of Golf. The Cruden Bay Golf Club have evidence, in the form of a ballot box inscribed Cruden Golf Club 1791, that that a nine-hole golf course existed at the nearby Ward Hill in the late 18th Century.

Designed by Old Tom Morris of St Andrews and opened in 1899 as part of the recreational facilities offered by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company’s baronial style Cruden Bay Hotel, golfers came from all over the world to play at Cruden Bay.
Even today, although the opulent railway hotel is long gone, the course on the Cruden Bay dunes is ranked as one of the best in Scotland and has been listed number 52 in the entire world by Golf Magazine.

From the outset, The GNSR marketed Cruden Bay as the Brighton of the North and made great efforts to attract the rich and the famous to the luxuriously pink Peterhead granite, 82 bedroomed hotel. Well known guests included Jeremiah Coleman of the mustard fame.

In the 1970’s a caddy, by the name of Alexander Cruikshank, who had carried the mustard tycoon’s clubs was interviewed for the Scots Magazine. He recalled that there were around 100 boys eagerly awaiting employment by the hotel’s caddy-master and that at the start of each round the golfer was required to purchase a caddy ticket at a cost of one shilling. When the round was complete the caddy would customarily receive nine pence as his payment.

Seemingly Jeremiah Coleman was in the habit of playing each day during his holiday. On the last day he would habitually request that his caddy for the week should carry his clubs into the hotel foyer and ask at reception for Lady Colman.

Her ladyship would then appear and “with Sir Jeremiah hovering in the background, would thank the caddy, present him with a half sovereign if this was his first year; or a whole sovereign on subsequent ones.” After thanking the young lad, she would do what every Cruden Bay Hotel caddy dreaded and kiss him sloppily on both cheeks.

I digress. Trump would probably just sloppily kiss the one cheek before demanding something more in return. Mind you, time is fast running out for the golf-entrepreneur. And, of course, the Cruden Bay links are not for sale.

Duncan Harley is the author of The A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire - Published by The History Press at £12.99 and available from Amazon and Inverurie Whisky Shop.


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